As I write this, Easter is fast approaching. For a Christian, it is a special day set aside to remember the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. Jesus had stated to His disciples that He would suffer, die, be buried…and then rise again (Mt. 16:21; Mt. 17:22-23; Mt. 20:17-19).
Romans 1:4 tells us that resurrection validated Who Jesus was, the Son of God. All the miracles He had performed while alive, all the teachings He had brought to vast crowds, everything He said and did was given God’s “stamp of approval” (if we could put it that way) when Jesus rose from the dead.
Easter is a time when people seem to be more open (if we could say that) to spiritual things. If you are a follower of Jesus, you may have opportunities to talk to someone about the Person of Christ – what He did, Who He was.
It also came to mind something I shared with our church last fall. In a series on “The Church” we talked about how as a church “we gather to grow, we go to serve.” A way to do that is to bless others. We looked at each letter of the word “bless” to get some practical thoughts on living out our mission for God, continuing His mission in the world.
So here at Easter I would like to mention these again. We are going to look this week and next at this word. Today we will note the first three letters, and next week finish up. The ideas are nothing new. I have read the concepts before, but they need to be put in our context here as we live and work, as you will, in your surroundings.
The first letter, of course, of the word “bless”, is “B.” Be in prayer. Begin our days asking God to use us as He sees fit. Be open to His leading, ask God for those “God appointments” in which we have the opportunity be a blessing to others. Colossians 4:2-6 tells us of Paul’s life on mission and that he asked for prayer for openings to share the Good News of Jesus.
The letter “L” means “listen.” We need to have discerning ears. Some people mask things. Along with that fact, there are those casual conversations God brings our way every day. We need to show people that they matter, that what they have to say does count. Listening is a powerful tool that God uses.
James 1:19 tells us to be “quick to hear, slow to speak…” Listening has the idea of more than just hearing words. It is trying to understand what someone is saying, asking questions, getting input. Listening requires a willingness to care and get the information right. Be involved in the lives of others. Show that we care.
To see this letter in action, look at Luke 18:35-43 where Jesus healed a blind man and note the interaction between the two.
The third letter “E” means “engage.” To live out God’s mission in the world we must be around people. It is easy to be in my “Christian bubble” because of my job. I have to be around those outside of God’s kingdom so that when opportunities do arise, when God allows it to happen, I, and we, can share the salvation message with others.
In Matthew 9:9-13, Jesus went to the house of Matthew, a tax collector who had been called by Jesus to be a disciple. Jesus, while at Matthew’s house, interacted with people that others would want to nothing to do with. In this instance, Jesus was intentional about being at Matthew’s house, and when Matthew’s friends showed up, Jesus spent time with them.
Opportunities to engage do, at times, just happen. Other times, we must be intentional to make it happen. Be sensitive to when those times are there for us. I must also remind myself that I need to view people through the eyes of God. Everyone matters. Everyone needs a Savior.
Next week I will finish up with the last two letters of the word “bless.” Have a great Easter. Jesus is risen. The tomb is empty. And because He lives, when we put our faith and trust in Christ, we have new life in Him, and can experience life as it was meant to be lived.